From the category archives:

language technology

  • The words you need: follow the red words and stars

    Posted by on April 03, 2014

    I learned a great new Spanish word last week: tiquismiquis. Its equivalent in English would be something like nitpicker or fusspot. It’s not quite a case of onomatopoeia, but there’s something about the word that matches the referent, and this makes it easier to remember. Next time I come across it, I’ll know what it […]

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  • Corpus linguistics in a MOOC – the future of education?

    Posted by on March 12, 2014

    Today’s guest post comes from Tony McEnery, Professor of Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University, and a leading figure in the world of corpus linguistics. ______________ If somebody had told me that, when I agreed to do a massive open online course (MOOC) for corpus linguistics, I would be crowd-sourcing word meanings from thousands […]

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  • Crawling the Web for new words

    Posted by on February 26, 2014

    Today’s guest post, from Daphné Kerremans of the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, is another in our occasional series on developments in language technology (and how they help us produce better dictionaries). Daphné is a linguist interested in the socio-cognitive mechanisms of language processes, specifically regarding the adoption of linguistic innovations by individuals and the speech community at large. She […]

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  • Bored of life? Carry on irregardless!

    Posted by on September 03, 2013

    A couple of weeks ago, most of the UK newspapers featured a full-page ad from Volvo promoting a new car, with the tag line ‘Bored of German techno? Try some Swedish metal’. Bored of? Traditionally, the preposition that follows bored is with. (By is often found, too, but typically when bored is functioning less as […]

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  • Tapping the brain for words

    Posted by on August 27, 2013

    Our next guest post comes from Doug Higby. Doug is with SIL International where he coordinates training and promotion of technology for advancing language-based development in the thousands of languages where SIL works. __________ If you were to build a dictionary from scratch, how would you go about it? Would you start with ‘a’ for […]

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  • Macmillan Dictionary’s new update

    Posted by on August 19, 2013

    In an earlier post, I mentioned an interview I had with a journalist, many years ago, about all the changes we had made in a new edition of a dictionary I then edited. Predictably, none of the really interesting things we discussed ever got a look-in. What excited the paper was the fact that we […]

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  • Weak, needs revision

    Posted by on January 02, 2013

    People have long been fascinated with the idea of time travel and often speculate on the marvelous things that it would enable them to do. Here’s a reason we can be thankful that we cannot readily receive visitors from the past: some of English’s greatest writers, if they should drop in for a visit to […]

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  • A preposition problem

    Posted by on November 19, 2012

    To begin, and so that you won’t feel you have yet another language problem on your plate, the preposition problem here is not a problem for you; it’s a problem for computers. You remember computers—those machines we rely on increasingly to do a huge amount of work for us. A big job for computers today […]

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  • No more print dictionaries: a ‘sad day’ or a ‘day of liberation’?

    Posted by on November 13, 2012

    Last week’s announcement that Macmillan won’t in future be publishing dictionaries in book form sparked a lively debate – some of it on this blog, some in the news media, and some in other online forums. The response, it’s fair to say, was mixed. ‘What a sad day’, said one subscriber to a lexicography discussion […]

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  • Stop the presses – the end of the printed dictionary

    Posted by on November 05, 2012

    Umberto Eco recently argued that “The book is like the spoon, the hammer, the wheel. Once invented, it cannot be improved”. But dictionaries are different from other books. Like maps and encyclopedias – but unlike novels or newspapers – dictionaries are things you consult (while you’re doing something else) rather than things you read. For […]

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